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From the Editor

by Richard Resch

This marks our sixth issue of Criminal Legal News. The response has been a pleasant surprise. While we were confident that there was a pressing need for a publication of this type—and that the content of each issue of CLN would provide readers with relevant, actionable legal news, and information—the enthusiasm with which CLN is being received has exceeded our most optimistic readership projections as measured by subscriptions. Thank you.

Please note that this issue of CLN is being provided to all current subscribers of PLN. We hope that PLN readers enjoy this complimentary issue of CLN and decide to subscribe. With subscriptions to both CLN and PLN, readers will stay informed about the latest relevant legal news on all phases of the criminal justice system, from initial citizen-officer encounter through post-release supervision.

Our core mission is to provide interesting, relevant, and timely information that serves to educate and help readers with their situations, i.e. presentation of practical legal information that can be used to challenge convictions, sentences, and conditions of release as appropriate.

To help our efforts, please give us feedback regarding what you find helpful (or not helpful—be specific), suggestions for improvement, and anything else we can do to make CLN as useful to as many readers as possible.  

We have some exciting news to share: It is with great pleasure that I announce the Human Rights Defense Center has hired its first full-time investigative journalist. His name is Steve Horn, and he’ll be writing original news stories for both CLN and PLN.

Steve Horn comes to HRDC as an investigative journalist by way of his 6 1/2 years of work for the online news publication—one of the leading alternative media sites covering climate change, energy, and environmental issues. Steve covered the oil and gas sector particularly rigorously, gaining recognition for his investigative work while breaking many stories that made a difference in political and legal spheres. Steve also has written numerous articles as a freelance journalist, with bylines in such publications as The Guardian, The Intercept, Al Jazeera America, Vice News, Wisconsin Watch, and TruthOut.

While at DeSmog, Steve covered the intersecting issues of hydraulic fracturing (known as fracking) for oil and gas, pipelines, and exports of oil and gas. That coverage was national in scope, focusing on both federal agency and congressional actions, as well as statehouses and localities nationwide. Throughout his time covering the beat, he wrote close to 700 articles. Some of the stories Steve broke during that time include revealing that the oil and gas industry hired U.S. military psychological warfare veterans as a means of convincing a skeptical public to allow drilling in localities throughout Pennsylvania; doing reporting that was cited by the legal defense team of a Native American woman charged with an attempted homicide and shooting at a police officer; original reporting on how the U.S. Department of State under Hillary Clinton’s watch pushed energy-sector privatization efforts in Mexico; and a story utilizing records obtained under open records law showing how a Colorado police department deployed undercover officers to monitor the “Keep It In The Ground” movement, which supported ending oil and gas drilling on U.S. public lands.

Steve’s work for DeSmog was cited in a U.S. Senate report, in the HBO documentary “Gasland: Part II,” in the high-profile federal court case for Red Fawn Fallis, and in the books Frackopoly: The Battle for the Future of Energy and the Environment by Wenonah Hauter and This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein.

As a freelance journalist, Steve often covered the overlap between the U.S. national security state, law enforcement, and U.S. military activities abroad. In particular, Steve wrote many stories covering the NATO 3 domestic terrorism case in Chicago and the Chicago Police Department’s use of undercover police officers to help secure the arrests of activists. He chronicled the University of Wisconsin’s (his alma mater) ties to the U.S. military establishment and war strategy planning, and wrote a multi-part series detailing how corporate tax cuts for FedEx and UPS would not be used as a means of creating more jobs.

At his first journalism job out of college for the Center for Media and Democracy, Steve was a member of the team that won the prestigious Izzy Award given by Ithaca College’s Park Center for Independent Media for the work they did detailing the machinations of the American Legislative Exchange Council as part of its “ALEC Exposed” project.

At CLN, Steve hopes to bring his money-in-politics and documents-driven investigative reporting approach to uncover and highlight abusive practices within the criminal justice system.

He says he believes firmly in the ethos espoused by investigative reporting legend Izzy Stone, who self-published the newspaper IF Stone’s Weekly, to “go into the bowels of government where the really good sources are.”

Steve looks forward to applying his finely honed investigative reporting skills to his beat at Criminal Legal News, providing news as actionable intelligence for readers, while holding powerful decision-makers accountable.

His academic background is in legal studies (the sociology of law) and political science.

He can be reached via email at

Thanks to your generous support of CLN and PLN, we’re able to bring someone of Steve’s caliber onboard. We hope you continue to see the value in both publications and encourage others to subscribe to CLN and PLN. Thank you. 


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